What is the value of agriculture?
In 2012, U.S. agriculture accounted for:
- 2.2 million U.S. farms
- $390 billion in cash receipts for crops and livestock
- 10% of all U.S. exports
These figures are a big deal to the agriculture community, but are they a big deal to consumers? What about the food on our tables, the fuel in our vehicles or the clothes in our closets. Are those luxuries a big deal to consumers?
Steve Forbes, president of Forbes Media, puts into perspective just how big a deal agriculture is for consumers. In a recent post from the Food Dialogues blog by the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, he describes agriculture as “science-driven, profitable, more environmentally attuned than ever and in a real sense, feeding the world.”
But even as agriculture is doing more with less by increasing the use of technology and decreasing the impact on the environmental, Forbes writes, no one seems to notice. Instead, the agriculture industry is under attack by special interest groups.
And Forbes says beware.
“If we are not careful, this underappreciated economic gem (agriculture) will cede its future to anti-business activists who use a variety of political and regulatory ploys to substitute scare tactics for science in our food systems,” Forbes says.
And here is another big figure: 9 billion people.
Forbes points out how America’s farmers are key players in meeting the demands of 9 billion people worldwide, with a rapidly growing middle class. Farmers not only provide the highest-quality products, they employ millions around the globe.
“It is time to take note,” Forbes says.